Monday, 1 July 2013

Day 18: Antwerpen-home

We were fairly lazy this morning and didn't go down to breakfast until about 09:00; it seemed odd to hear so many British voices in the dining-room, and we realised we simply hadn't encountered many other English-speaking travellers during the holiday.  The breakfast was good, except the juice was nasty and the coffee was so weak it couldn't crawl out of the cup.  If a coffee machine says "Expresso" on it, it's a fair bet the regular coffee will be weaker than weak.

I discovered that my black cardigan was missing, and realised I must have left it in the restaurant the previous evening.  This was locked, but the kind receptionist said he would look for it as soon as someone came in with the key, which was due to happen around 12:00.  We were not leaving Antwerpen until about 3:00 so we left our luggage at the hotel, and set off to explore.

We bought day tickets for public transport, but were foiled as we couldn't see where the tram we wanted left from, only to discover that it was, in fact, a metro!  Once we sorted that out, we got to the Groene Markt, and had a lovely walk round the old centre of the town.  Including, quite accidentally, the red light area where the poor women sit in the windows and parade their charms.... I felt rather sorry for them. The Swan Whisperer was most embarrassed, as he hadn't realised that was why that particular street was pedestrianised....

Then we decided to go for a tram ride there and back again, which was a mistake as a child was sick, which reduced me to curled up in foetal position with my eyes screwed shut and my fingers in my ears.  But I was able to move to the back of the tram and carry on looking out of the window.  We ended up in a very Moslem/Turkish area - I was tempted to go and buy some flatbreads and/or hummus to take home, but there wasn't time. 

We found somewhere to have lunch, and then took a final tram back to the hotel, got our luggage and the next train to Brussels.  Only we nearly failed to get out at the right station as I had dozed off and the Swan Whisperer assumed I'd say when it was time to get off!

And so on to the Eurostar - and I slept the entire way through the tunnel and was very confused as I'd heard them say they were going to stop briefly in Calais Fr├ęthun, and the next thing I knew they were stopping at Ashford instead!  And so to St Pancras, and the Victoria Line, and a 355 bus, and home.

It was a really lovely holiday!  I wish it were all to do over again!

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